The Upper is not our favorite mid winter option. The lower river near Ennis often experiences large ice flows. The upper river closer to Hebgen Lake can be good but access is tough with the snow banks. Trout are avoiding the fast water that makes up a lot of this section of the river so if you can find some slower runs they will be filled with trout. The water near Ennis is a little more diverse than the “50 mile riffle” upstream and has some great holding water if you have a mild day and there isn’t a lot of ice to contend with. Nymphing stoneflies trailed by smaller baetis nymphs has been effective. Eggs and some of the larger midge larva patterns such as 3 dollar dips are also a good option.
The Month Ahead:
The Upper Madison can be a tough mid winter fishing but when warm spells arrive and the wind isn’t blowing it can be productive.
Long Term Fishing Forecast:
The Upper Madison takes a while to warm up but early spring fishing can be productive on mild days. Some strong midge hatches can often occur in the upper reaches in late winter and early spring.